James Hetfield Says Motörhead’s Omission from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame “Continues to Piss Me Off”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a renowned institution dedicated to memorializing the greatest artists in the history of rock music. But it has a secondary function which is to fuel pointless controversies within rock music. You’ll remember the time in 2007 when Fox News invented a controversy over their claim that the Dave Clark Five got six more votes than Grandmaster Flash and Grandmaster Flash was inducted over DC5 anyway. Naturally, since Fox News was involved, it would seem that that particular controversy was really over the fact that the Hall of Fame wanted to induct an important black artist instead of the squarest bunch of white guys in rock history, but it didn’t matter because The Dave Clark Five was inducted the next year.

In a recent interview on podcast The Metallica Report, Metallica Frontman James Hetfield talked about one of the Hall of Fame’s biggest controversies: their snub of Motörhead and Lemmy Kilmister. Speaking about his tattoo, which contains Kilmister’s ashes, Hetfield talked about Lemmy’s legacy and his omission from the Hall of Fame (as transcribed by Blabbermouth):

“I guess downtime, you get a little creative in more than one way besides writing songs. It’s like drawing or, I got my Photoshop back up and working and fiddling around with shirt ideas and stuff like that. And, yeah, tattoos is just something I’ve always loved. I’m a logo dude, as we all know. So, yeah, getting the hands done. And then Adriana, my girlfriend, her best friend passed away. And we had just talked about the ability to put ashes in the ink to represent someone who you carry around in your life. So thinking up of ideas of what would represent that person and memories for their life — I mean, that’s really what they are; they’re memories — and remembering that I had been given some ashes of Lemmy and a little silver bullet that was like a necklace and using that to get my — yeah, the Iron Cross and the ace of spades. So Lemmy is able to still fly the bird to the world via me. And just a reminder of what an inspiration he has been in my life — what to do, what not to do. And for me paying respects to him in maybe lieu of him being in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, which still continues to piss me off.”

He then continued:

“The most rock and roll lifestyle-living person on this planet is not in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, which is a travesty, a shame. It’s kind of a disrespect to rock and roll, basically. So this is me paying homage to him.”

British metal legends Motörhead remain one of the Hall of Fame’s most consistent controversies. The band became eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2002 and weren’t even put on the ballot until 2020, and even then the Hall of Fame forgot to include guitarist Phil Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee as members of the band. The 2020 class of inductees included some important artists in the history of rock, hip-hop, and pop music including Depeche Mode, Whitney Houston, and The Notorious B.I.G., but Motörhead were noticeably snubbed. To make matter worse, one of the bands inducted over Motörhead that year were fellow English rock band T. Rex who, while important to rock history, clearly pale in comparison to Motörhead’s influence.

So why does Motörhead continue to be snubbed? Hetfield has been talking about this for some time, and here’s what he had to say on the Let There Be Talk podcast back in 2020:

“I really think that when things like that happen, it might be a generational thing where maybe some of the older people just don’t get it — they just don’t fucking get it.

“They don’t see the range of influence and the impact and the inspiration that certain bands have. They don’t hear it, because maybe they’re part of a different generation and were told that vocals sung like that are bad. But they’re not — they’re fucking just another type of vocal…some of those Motörhead recordings are fucking so beautifully raw.”

The inductees have already been announced for 2024 and Motörhead was once again absent from the ballot. Ozzy Osbourne will be inducted for his solo act, which is well deserved, but somehow the Dave Matthews Band has been inducted and any institution that thinks Dave Matthews is more rock and roll than Lemmy Kilmister clearly doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

Metal

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